How (not) to build a house – part 3


So this is the ‘fun’ part (supposedly). But why is making decisions for your house just so torturous and difficult?! (Here’s part 1 and part 2 if you’d like to catch up on the journey so far).

We’re currently finalising the materials for the exterior. All along, the dream was to incorporate some of my designs onto the outer walls. But how to do it and make it completely weatherproof? With the architect, we explored various materials and methods and concluded that etching a pattern using a router would probably work best. After trial and error, and some bureaucratic hurdles from Islington council, we’ve ended up with a cementitious panel below in charcoal, which has a quality much like slate.

Etched panel, zinc roof tiles and bronze gold for window frames

This panel is an early sample. The plant we are now using is the attractively named Nipplewort. The stems will be super-sized and fabulous – but quite subtle, just tone on tone. Here is an elevation of one side of the house to show you the idea.

Side elevation view of the house

Nipplewort in situ!

The roof is going to be covered in zinc fish scales in three colours: silver, grey blue and grey green (which you can see by the etched panel above). It’s the only part of the building our neighbours will be able to see, so we wanted to try and make it blend as much as possible into the environment. And we’ve chosen bronze gold window frames (I wanted orange ones but my husband put his foot down!).

Lots of progress to report inside. All the internal walls are up and the plasterer is coming next week. The windows are in place, including the (eye-wateringly expensive) sky lights.

Kitchen / dining room / sitting room

We finally made up our mind for the kitchen worktop. This is the marble we went with in the end, thank you to everyone who made a suggestion. It is actually a bit more muted in real life.

Gorgeous marble slab

But my biggest upcoming decision is the flooring! I have so many samples I think I could floor a room with them! Alex and I adore this ‘End Grain’ sample.
But it is seriously expensive so we are not sure if we can justify it in the whole room, and are a bit worried it is too busy.

We keep saying to ourselves ‘oh we may as well splash out here as it is worth it. Oh and here. And we definitely need to get the best here…’ and before we know it we are heading towards being well over budget. The only economy we have made so far is Ikea wardrobes in the kids bedroom!

End grain wood flooring

When we embarked on this project my children were 2 and 5, now they are 14 and 16. After all those years, many loans, lawyers and lost nights’ sleep, the house will soon look like something you can actually live in. Stay tuned!

Thank you for following along on this journey,

Have a lovely weekend,

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